Surrender Event October 14, 2023

An amazing success!

Under glorious skies that offered up both sunshine and an eclipse, our congregation hosted a voluntary gun surrender event in the Fellowship parking lot. Here are some of the highlights:

We collected 140 weapons, far surpassing the 50 weapons we assumed in our budget, and doubling our “stretch” goal of 70 weapons! We took in and disabled:

  • 40 rifles
  • 90 handguns
  • 10 assault rifles  

We are over the moon (and the sun) pleased with those results. 

Thirty volunteers from BVUUF were joined by 30 local folks and people from metro Denver, some of whom are veterans of events such as this. 

We gave out about $17,000 in King Soopers gift cards to people who surrendered their guns.  Despite having what we thought was more gift cards than we’d need, the response was so enthusiastic that we were going to run out. Rev. Lydia made an emergency trip to a local King Soopers to get enough for everyone waiting in line. She actually had a hard time buying them in quantity, in spite of the fact that she was wearing her clerical collar.  

Volunteers enjoyed yummy sandwiches, created that morning by Eats and Sweets in downtown Lafayette.  Members of our congregation provided delicious baked goods.

While the sweets were intended for the volunteers, we handed them out to our guests who (mostly) patiently waited in their cars because the line was longer than we had ever anticipated … and someone brought more weapons than we ever imagined.  

When offered an apology for the noise and traffic, one of the close-in neighbors said, “Small sacrifice for the important work that you are doing.  Thank you.”  This was one of many many expressions of gratitude by the people who turned in weapons, and the surrounding community.

All of the weapons collected and dismantled were turned into garden tools and jewelry by the blacksmiths at RAWTools in Colorado Springs.  These items were popular offering at our annual silent auction later in the fall. 

As Rev. Lydia said, “We will never know for sure, but it is very likely that collecting weapons today will save lives.”  This surely felt like the “energy of action.”

We are happy to share with other congregations who might consider holding an event like this. On April 20, 2024, members of our team will be sharing our gun surrender experience at the Pacific Western Regional meeting of the UUA in Denver. 

For more information, contact

Your GTGT planning team:  Catharine Harris, Ani Liggett, Lilianna Setzke, Caden Crisp, Bob Braudes, Nancy Clairmont, TK Smith, and Constance Holden